Disney, And When Big Views Aren't Necessarily Good News
Even with "lukewarm reviews" (from adults, after all), it sounds like a winner. Only, I'm wondering if any of the people involved have kids. The first HSM was a favorite at my house, and my teenage daughter, my preteen son, and a teen niece were all looking forward to the sequel. They were ensconced on the sofas when it started - and by the time it ended, they were snorting and derisive. There were complaints about the direction, the acting, the singing, the dancing, the story, and the writing. That didn't keep a slightly reconfigured set - three teenagers and a pre-teen - from watching a second singalong showing ... and openly mocking throughout.
Brand is tricky, and I'm not sure I'd be happy even with an enormous audience if my kids represented any large part of the public. Good marketing, in the form of the original product appeal and the promotion for the sequel, can often kill something faster than a good competitor. And when your new big thing is something invoking derision, at least among some previously supportive group, I suspect it does damage to the overall corporate brand. Here's a relevant remark from the article:
Nevertheless, sustaining interest in “High School Musical” required Disney and its promotional partners to bombard capricious young viewers with a relentless stream of merchandise and marketing in the 18 months between the first and second movies.I would join the came of those wondering. The company has done well in the past, even with series like the Halloweentown movies. And it's beyond doubt that Disney is capable of getting good writers and composers, creating musical material, and making movies that both become perennial favorites that then translate to the stage and, ultimately, are performed by school and community groups.
And now some analysts wonder if Disney is risking the health of this budding franchise by expanding it too quickly.
So what went so wrong here? It's not the lack of talent, I'm sure. Could the Big Kahunas decided that things would go even better if They got involved with directing the talent where it needed to go? Whatever the case, between over hype, under delivery, and the merciless nature of the tween and teen markets, Disney may have given a solid punch to its own corporate solar plexus.